is638818988 learning largeAre you hoping to run or continue to operate a successful business? If so, you need to focus on ongoing learning.

With the current digital landscape constantly evolving, ongoing learning is critical to success. Gone are the days when a four-year degree is all the education you need.

While all education is valuable, it's continuous learning that will keep you competitive, relevant and successful in today's fast-paced technological landscape. It is your key to lifelong learning and the key to continued success.

What is Ongoing Learning?

Ongoing or continuous learning is the practice of constantly learning new things. Whether it’s a new skill, tool, language or simply acquiring knowledge, continuous learning is the secret ingredient to unlocking your full potential.

It is often self-motivation that pushes us to keep learning, but now more than ever, companies are starting to understand the importance of providing continuous learning opportunities for their employees.

[quotesright]A staggering 90 percent of business leaders agree that they are facing numerous challenges due to changes in digital technologies, and 70 percent agree that their employees currently do not have the skills required to adapt to these changes. [/quotesright]

This problem only emphasizes the need for ongoing learning. The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2019 found “…the number-one trend for 2019 is the need for organizations to change the way people learn. It’s not hard to understand why. Evolving work demands and skill requirements are creating an enormous demand for new skills and capabilities, while a tight labor market is making it challenging for organizations to hire people from outside.”

Recruiting and retaining talented staff is an important aspect of any company's success, and in the current landscape, only one third of millennial employees believe their employers are making the most of their skills.

Nearly half of Millennials state that they are likely to leave their jobs because they do not feel they are learning and developing fast enough.

Complacency is becoming a thing of the past. [quotes]More than ever, employees value professional development.[/quotes] While this sets the bar higher for employers, rising to the occasion and offering development opportunities can only produce positive results.

Why Bother?

If you're getting a steady paycheck by showing up to work every day and doing the bare minimum, why bother learning anything new? This is an old-school mindset that will not fly in the current age.

[quotesright]The truth is, automation is already starting to take over mundane jobs. [/quotesright] Those with no motivation or interest in learning new skills to make themselves valuable will render themselves irrelevant, and likely unemployed.

Change is inevitable and has become a fundamental aspect of the corporate culture. Making the conscious decision to pursue new ideas and learn new skills is not only a benefit for your professional career but for your personal development.

Learning new skills and hobbies will keep your brain sharp and has been linked to improved memory and a greater feeling of satisfaction both in and out of work.

It all boils down to employee engagement. The more engaged, challenged, and valued an employee feels, the more productive they will be. And the more productive they are, the greater an asset they become.

[quotes]This scenario is a win-win for both employer and employee.[/quotes] Offering opportunities for employees to continuously learn and develop is an investment in the future.

The key to success in ongoing learning is to do it because you want to, not because you have to. Companies that force their employees into mandatory training will not achieve the same results as those who offer voluntary learning opportunities.

More Reasons to Keep Learning

Do you want to lose your job to a robot? No. No one does. The fear of automation taking over jobs is a real one, but there is a huge silver lining.

The age of automation clears the way for humans to use their brainpower to do jobs of a higher quality. The opportunity to excel and achieve real satisfaction is there for those who are open to continuous learning.

Changing and evolving with the landscape has never been more important. Ongoing learning keeps you relevant and can ultimately be the factor that keeps you employable.

[quotesright]It will also keep you prepared if the unexpected happens. [/quotesright] If you lose your job and find yourself unemployed, use that spare time to learn a new skill to make yourself qualified for new opportunities.

The average time spent in a job is 4.5 years. This means it's highly likely that you'll switch jobs a few times throughout your career. You might even change careers.

Keeping your skills sharp and adding new ones to the toolbox will improve your profile and increase your chances of finding fulfilling work. You might even get headhunted.

Learning a new skill is proven to increase confidence. And that newfound confidence could be the thing you were lacking when finding truly meaningful work for yourself.

Continuous learning opens doors to better and more satisfying opportunities. You could even wind up in a whole new career you never imagined yourself doing. Don't sell yourself short. For the lifelong learner, the opportunities are endless.

Types of Learning

Everyone learns differently. There are three main styles of learning; auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Most people are a mixture of the three but understanding your primary learning style can help you make the most out of your training.

  1. Visual learners associate information with images. They learn best by reading themselves and seeing visual cues. Visual learners generally have strong attention to detail and will excel at creative, hands-on work and strategic planning.
  2. Auditory learners absorb information by sound. An auditory learner will often enjoy seminars and being read aloud to. They are generally strong communicators and excel in music, language, counseling, and teaching jobs.
  3. The most common learning style is kinesthetic; learning by doing. This is a tactile approach to learning where people learn by getting hands-on and performing the task themselves.

[quotes]Take this quiz to find out what type of learner you are. Understanding your learning style can maximize your education and save frustration and discouragement.[/quotes]

How to Keep Learning

You don't have to quit your job and go back to school full time to earn a new degree. Short courses, weekend workshops, and one-day seminars are great ways to supplement what you're already doing.

[quotesright]If your employer offers free education, take it. [/quotesright] Even if it's not something you think will interest you, you'll be surprised what learning a new skill can do for your confidence and productivity.

If your employer does not offer any ongoing learning opportunities, take the initiative yourself. You don't even have to spend money on taking an official course.

Make time for reading. Schedule your life outside of work so that you have time to work on your personal development. Spend less time zoning out on mindless Netflix shows; choose a documentary instead.

Read books on topics that interest you. Listen to podcasts, read industry magazines, go to meetup groups. You don't even have to spend money. There is an infinite amount of free resources both on and offline for ongoing learning.

If you want to or are able to spend a bit of money, your personal development will never be a bad investment. Sign up for evening or online courses to learn a new skill or get Rosetta Stone to learn a new language.

You do not need a formal education to learn new things. Opportunities to learn are all around you. If you're going on a trip, spend some time off the beaten path and learn from the locals. Visit new neighborhoods in your own city. Talk to new people.

How to Create a Learning Culture in Your Company

For employers and people in management positions, creating a culture that fosters ongoing learning doesn't have to be a huge expense.

You don't have to send your employees to expensive courses to encourage them to learn new skills. Here are only some of the ways you can do that: Host in-house seminars, arrange weekend workshops and invite industry professionals to give talks.

Curate a company newsletter or blog with updated, relevant resources. Host motivational and team-building events. Recognize your employees' interests and skills and provide tailored training and instruction to help them excel even further.

[quotesright]There are countless inexpensive ways to encourage continuous learning for your employees. And, they (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.  [/quotesright]

The Bottom Line

[quotesright]It's never too late. [quotesright]That old saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," just isn't true anymore. No matter your age or the level you're at in your career, there is always time to learn new things.

Job permanence isn't as reliable as it once was. Companies have to evolve to keep up with new trends, and it's important that you keep growing and evolving with them.

It’s the same for employers. It's not as easy to retain talent as it used to be. With so many companies beginning to value ongoing learning, employees are much more likely to leave their job for one that will support their professional development.

We all need to earn a living. So why not make the most out of our jobs and careers by squeezing every last bit of knowledge out of them? Job satisfaction will flow into the rest of your life.

If you're happy at work, chances are you'll be happier at home. Now, go out there and learn something new you can apply to your business or improve your value as an employee or leader starting right now.